Saving Verakko: Epilogue


Two months later

“You’re heading out tomorrow, right?” Alice said, while tickling the foot of Laura, Jade’s chubby baby girl.

Lily smiled as Laura squealed with delight. “Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve seen Alex. Time to catch up.”

Alice leaned back in her seat, draping her shining brown hair over one shoulder and crossing her long legs. “Well, thanks for meeting with us. We need more volunteers to contribute to the human database.” She huffed out a breath. “There’s only so much I know, you know? I’ve already detailed everything I can remember about animals and everything I remember learning in school, but more people means more info. I hope if enough Clecanians read up on us, it’ll help smooth the transition for the next time someone finds a human.”

“It might’ve helped for me and Verakko if he’d known more about Earth going in.”

“Did someone say my name?” Verakko strolled in through the front door, Jade, Theo, and Luka at his heels.

Lily stood and crossed through their living room to greet him with a quick kiss. He deepened it at first, then reluctantly pulled away when she swatted at his chest. The past month had been the best Lily could remember. She and Verakko had chosen to leave Mithrandir and purchase a home in Tremanta. She had decided that being closer to the vast majority of humans would be beneficial, and Verakko had been eager to return to his beloved job.

They’d purchased a house on the edge of the city, close enough for Lily to enjoy the many amenities of city life, but far enough away that their trendy one-story home overlooked the woods. Every morning, Verakko would walk her to beauty school before taking a cruiser to whichever site needed a technologist. He often tried to explain what he’d done that day when he got home, but Lily understood very little of it.

“How was the tour?” Lily asked, peeking around Verakko’s large frame to the other three closing the door behind them. He’d taken them out to his workshop, where he built all kinds of gadgets.

“I didn’t understand technology at home, and I’m not going to understand it here,” Jade said, bending over to greet Laura, who giggled and produced an impressively sized snot bubble. The little girl had faint pearlescent markings running all over her skin as well as bright red hair, just like Jade.

Theo, Jade’s large husband whose frown was in place remarkably more often than Verakko’s, nodded unconvincingly. “It was…impressive.”

“Why are you asking them?” Verakko groused. “No one here appreciates the beauty of my work.”

“I do,” Luka, Theo’s brother, argued. “I’d love to talk with you more about collaborating on tech for the reserve.” He kissed a blushing Alice on the lips and continued. “Since I’ve started working fewer hours, I’m worried I’m missing critical observational breakthroughs. I need a piece of tech that can follow specific animals and record, but that isn’t discernible to them. I haven’t been able to find one that works yet. They all scurry as soon as it comes near.”

Verakko and Luka then launched into a heated discussion about what types of materials would put off the least amount of scent, while the rest of them sat and watched, trying to follow along quickly enough to add to the conversation and failing.

The first one to break and beg for the barrage of technology jargon to end was Laura. Fat tears fell from her eyes as she cried. In a matter of seconds, her cries became ear-splitting wails.

“Sorry. She’s just tired. We missed naptime today,” Jade said. She caught Theo’s raised brow and added, “Okay, okay, I made her miss naptime.” Jade smiled at the other women. “She just started laughing, and for some reason, the funniest thing in the world is Cebo. I think he knows it too because he comes over and tickles her with his whiskers, and it’s the cutest thing. I couldn’t interrupt!”

“I still can’t believe how fast she’s growing,” Alice said.

Jade lifted Laura into her arms and bounced on the balls of her feet. “I know! It’s happening so much faster than a full-human baby. Too fast for me.” They all winced as Laura let out another ear-splitting shriek.

“Maybe Verakko could sway her to go to sleep?” Lily asked, peering up at Verakko, who was looming over her chair.

He shook his head. “I can’t begin to know what she’s thinking.”

“It’s okay.” Jade grinned mischievously. “Wanna see a magic trick?”

Theo, who’d been quietly sipping on a mott in a far chair, stifled a grin and set his drink down. He gazed at Jade and Laura with a staggering amount of love as they approached.

The rest of the room watched as Jade handed Laura off to Theo. He curled his baby girl against his chest and kissed the top of her head.

Lily didn’t notice anything extraordinary as Laura continued to wail. But then suddenly another sound rumbled through the room. As Laura’s cries stuttered out and her eyelids grew heavy, Lily realized Theo had started purring, the relaxing rumble against his chest lulling Laura to sleep almost instantly.

“Isn’t that the greatest thing you’ve ever seen!” Jade whispered.

She and Alice both nodded enthusiastically. Verakko wrapped an arm around her waist from behind, and she leaned into his warm chest.

“We’d better head out now before she wakes up,” Jade whispered, careful to pick up their things without making any sound.

Theo kept his hold tight on Laura and followed his mate, nodding to them with an unbidden grin.

“We’ll get out of your hair too. I’m sure you need to pack,” Alice said, moving to give Lily a hug. “Will you be back in time for the meeting?”

Lily sobered and nodded. “Any more news on PRIC?”

Alice shook her head, a concerned look entering her eyes. “We haven’t heard anymore from them, but the idea of them hiding in plain sight is terrifying. Every city has made announcements about the humans, and the ones who’ve been found are safe for now, but what happens when a rescued woman comes across one of her jailors masquerading as a simple chef or something?”

Lily shook her head, worry making her throat dry. How many more women were still out there? How many, like her, were choosing not to make themselves known? How many hadn’t made it?

As if sensing her sudden upheaval, Verakko’s grip around her waist tightened, and he rubbed a palm on her shoulder.

Alice smiled at the gesture and waved her hand in the air. “Forget about it for right now. We’ll have hours to talk about it when you get back. Just enjoy your trip.”

Lily sighed, not sure it was possible to wipe it from her mind completely, but smiled anyway and bid the last of their visitors farewell.

When the door finally closed, she let out a long breath and plopped onto her soft green couch, sipping the last of her tury.

“Don’t worry, mivassi. It may sound callous, but now that the world knows how important humans are, they’ll be very well protected. I’m confident that if any Insurgents make any attempt to harm them, they’ll be caught.”

Lily nodded, but remained unconvinced.

Verakko rounded the couch and sat next to her. “Also keep in mind what impulsive creatures human females are,” he said, gazing out the window with mock sincerity.

A laugh broke from Lily’s belly. He always knew just how to make her feel better. She angled her body on the couch so her head rest against the arm, then raised her foot and playfully kicked his thigh. “Shut up.” She giggled.

“I mean, their actions will be so inconsistent and illogical…” Verakko shook his head, then raised his eyes to the heavens. He snatched both her feet and sprung onto his knees. “Any active PRIC members left won’t be able to keep up with their unfathomable thought processes long enough to catch them anyway.”

She laughed at the outrageous claims and tugged at her feet.

In one swift motion, Verakko pulled her legs until she was lying fully on the couch and then crawled over her.

Lily tried to smother her grin as he lowered onto his elbows and hovered above her. “You know none of that is true.”

With one hand, he gripped the collar of his shirt and tugged it over his head.

Lily’s pulse picked up at the sight of his naked chest. He gazed down at her, and his eyes locked onto her neck, making a jolt of liquid heat pool in her core.

Wedging his hips between hers, he ground against her, shaft already hard. Verakko lowered his mouth to the sensitive spot on the curve of her shoulder and tsked. “Ruled by emotions. That’s what you are.”

“Oh yeah?” Lily purred while running a hand down his firm stomach.

Verakko groaned into her neck in approval.

While he was distracted, she hooked her ankle around his leg, gripped the back of his pants, and shoved as hard as she could against the side of the couch. They rolled, and Verakko landed with a thud on the ground, Lily straddling him.

He growled low but grinned and raised his arms behind his head, looking pleased as punch at the change of positions.

Lily chuckled and rocked her hips, eliciting another rattling growl. “I guess we are a little unpredictable,” she joked. 

Like a flash, Verakko sat up and slid her skirt up to her hips. With one quick tug, he ripped her underwear off. She arched into his hold as he lavished her neck with sharp nips from his fangs, followed by soothing kisses and swipes of his tongue. Despite their playful repartee, her mind muddled until nothing else in the world seemed to matter. She rocked her now-naked sex against him and frowned at the barrier still between them.

She sat back, but Verakko’s arm immediately wrapped around her waist to hold her in place. When she made her intentions known by reaching between their bodies and fumbling with the fastenings on his pants, he made a sound of approval and loosened his hold.

She eased back until he released her completely. His rapt gaze was hungry as he watched her move down his body and kneel between his legs. After Lily’s emotional declaration of love in Mithrandir, she and Verakko had barricaded themselves in the bedroom for days, exploring each other’s bodies. The first time she’d run her tongue along his shaft, a seemingly unheard-of thing for a Clecanian woman to do, he’d cursed, and every muscle had tensed in the most erotic way.

He reclined on his elbows, his glowing eyes now a darker shade of emerald, watching her every move.

***

Verakko stared in awe as his mate slid his pants down his hips, allowing his cock to spring free. She gave him one of her devastating grins and lowered her mouth until she was a breath away from the head of his shaft. When she wrapped a firm hand around the base of his cock, he hissed.

“Tell me again about humans,” she said in a false tone of confusion. “You said they were unpredictable?” She released his cock and lifted a brow at him.

He barked out a laugh. “Did I say that?”

With a smile, she licked a bead of precum off the head of his shaft. He barely prevented his eyes from rolling back.

“I misspoke,” he breathed, trying not to thrust into her soft palm.

“I thought so,” she agreed seriously, licking her way up the side of his shaft while working her hand up and down.

Verakko’s body felt like it was on fire. That was how it always was with her. Their spark, which he was confident would never die, transformed into an inferno whenever they made love.

Verakko balled his fists and cursed when her hot mouth covered the head of his cock. She took him deeper into her mouth, matching the motion of her pumping hand. The scent of her growing arousal hit his nose, and he couldn’t stand it anymore. He’d never let her ache, not while there was something he could do to ease it.

He tugged at her hair, and she released his shaft with a wet pop. “Fuck, you’re sexy.”

Her pink-flushed cheeks pulled into a grin. Verakko sat on his knees and gripped her hips. With a modicum of effort, he tossed her onto the couch, feet still on the ground. Still kneeling on the floor, he hooked his arms under her knees and pulled them apart.

Lily gasped, and the scent of her arousal grew. He ducked and, without teasing, swiped his pointed tongue against her sex, lapping up the sweet taste of her arousal. She jumped at the sudden contact, but he held her firm, clutching the tops of her thighs with his large palms.

He swiped his tongue against the sensitive nub at her opening, the way he’d learned she liked, and waited for her telltale moans to quicken. When her breaths started coming in small gasps, he slid one finger inside her core and pumped in time with his tongue. Lily’s hips jerked against his mouth, and he growled.

She shoved her hands into his hair and squeezed, sending the most delicious prickle of pain along his scalp. Her moans stopped, and instead she only sucked in little gasps of air. His mate was about to come.

He shoved two fingers inside her slick entrance and pulsed in time with the small flicks of his tongue. Her body stiffened, but he continued to work his mouth on her. As her thighs began to tremble around his ears, his shaft gave an angry throb.

A high-pitched cry tore from her throat just as he felt her body shudder. He slowed his movements, letting her come down. Each of the small whimpers she made as he nipped the inside of her thighs ratcheted his own arousal higher and higher. When her breathing evened out, he gripped her around the waist and dragged her off the edge of the couch until she straddled him once again.

“Hi.” She smiled with a dazed grin on her face. She wrapped her arms around his neck, but he snatched her wrists and brought them above her. He flung her shirt up and over her arms, revealing her small breasts and pebbled nipples. She let out a small gasp as he rocked his hips against hers and licked her nipple. He let his fangs brush the underside of her breast before swirling his tongue around her nipple in the way he knew drove her crazy.

Slowly she began to rock her hips more fervently, the scent of her wet heat spiking once again. She tugged on his hair, and he tilted his head up.

Love shone in her eyes as she leaned down to kiss him. “Hi.” He grinned, a breath away from her mouth. She smiled and slid her tongue over a fang, already filled with antivenom.

Verakko wrapped his arms around her back, pressing her flush to his chest and deepened their kiss with a slant of his head. Her slick entrance gliding over his shaft and her soft whimpers into his mouth told him she was ready. He palmed her ass and lifted her, aligning their bodies, then lowered her slowly onto his cock.

Lily moaned, breaking away from the kiss to stare into his eyes as he worked himself deeper into her until fully seated. She rested her forehead against his for a moment and nibbled on her lower lip, then rocked forward. They both released a low groan when she lifted off him and surged back down.

Verakko gripped her ass, pushing and pulling her body, creating a steady rhythm. The velvet heat of her tight sheath gloved his cock as he pumped into her.

“Look at me, mivassi,” he demanded as her moans grew breathy again.

She peered down at him in that heavy-lidded pleasure-filled way that almost undid him every time.

“Are you ready?”

A brief grin spread over her face, quickly replaced by a low moan as he forcefully ground his hips against her entrance. When she looked at him again, she said, “I’m ready.”

Verakko pressed a soft kiss to her jaw. “I love you, Lily.”

“I—” Her nails dug into his shoulders, and she gasped as he flipped her onto her back and settled between her legs.

He slid in and out of her in slow, smooth strokes that made her shake and claw at his chest. “Did you say something?” he cooed in her ear.

She let out a breathy laugh between moans and opened her mouth to speak again, but her words died in her throat as he pumped into her more quickly, curling his hips to rub her clit on each thrust.

“Open up,” he grated, loving the way she nodded breathlessly and drew her brows in concentration. “My fangs sinking into your neck will feel so good, you’ll be on the verge of coming, hard.”

His mate whimpered and tilted her head to the side, exposing her neck for him. He licked a fang, and his hips picked up speed.

With a snarl, he buried his fangs in the soft flesh of her neck while bucking into her.

Lily moaned and locked her ankles around his hips, urging him on faster. He felt her body tense on the verge of orgasm. As soon as her walls started spasming around him, he came. He bellowed into her shoulder, her prolonged orgasm milking him on each thrust. Still languidly rocking against her and making her shiver and moan, he collapsed onto his elbows.

When his racing pulse slowed and the lightheaded ecstasy faded, he beamed down and pressed his palms to either side of her face. Eyes still closed, she grinned.

Verakko planted a soft kiss to one eyelid, then the other, then her nose, and finally to her lips.

“I was going to say I love you,” she panted, her face still flushed with exertion.

“I know.” He nuzzled against her neck again, grinning like a fool at the mark visible on her tanned flesh. His insides always roared in argument whenever he healed the dark marks.

She placed her palms over his and smirked. “Oh, you know, do you?”

He withdrew from her and collapsed onto his back, pulling her to rest atop him as he did.

He rolled his eyes. “Yes, you’re always telling me. On and on. ‘I love you’ this, ‘I can’t live without you’ that…”

Lily giggled and sprinkled soft kisses along his jaw.

“I suppose…” He sighed. “If you really wanted to, you could tell me again.”

She laughed and braced his face in her hands the same way he had. “Verakko, look at me,” she said, imitating his deep voice.

The corners of his mouth twitched.

“Now, open up to me,” she continued in that deep tone.

“I sound nothing like that.”

She raised her brows at him until he nodded, pretending to open his mind up to her nonexistent sway.

She shuffled up his body until her face was directly above his, her glittering hair falling in waves over her shoulder. Her eyes grew serious. “Verakko, I love you more every single day.”

Despite his jesting, his heart swelled, making his chest tight. He nodded, throat too clogged to voice the right words. She grinned wickedly, knowing just how deeply her words affected him.

She tsked, shaking her head in mock dismay, even while tenderly running her thumbs along his jawline. “Ruled by emotions. That’s what you are.”

His rumbling chuckle was replaced by a rattling purr as his life, his mate, his mivassi, leaned down and kissed him again.

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